What are the signs and symptoms of thromboangiitis obliterans (TAO) (Buerger disease)?

Updated: Jul 27, 2020
  • Author: Naiem Nassiri, MD; Chief Editor: Vincent Lopez Rowe, MD  more...
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Most patients with TAO (70-80%) present with distal ischemic rest pain or ischemic ulcerations on the toes, feet, or fingers (see the image below). [9, 10] Progression of the disease may lead to involvement of more proximal arteries, but involvement of large arteries is unusual.

Feet of patient with thromboangiitis obliterans (B Feet of patient with thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger disease). Note ischemic ulcers on distal portion of left great, second, and fifth toes. Although patient's right foot is normal in gross appearance, angiography demonstrated compromised arterial flow to both feet.

Patients may also present with claudication of the feet, legs, hands, or arms and often describe experiencing the Raynaud phenomenon (a pathologic vasospastic process involving pain, paresthesias, and color changes of the digits of the hands and feet in response to cold or anxiety).

Patients who seek medical attention late in the course of their disease may present with foot infections and, occasionally, with florid sepsis.

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